Tuesday, July 23, 2024

INTERESTING FOLKS: Waldron Receives Service Award at Final Committee Meeting

Committee member Debra Waldron earns recognition for 30 years of service to Blairstown Township, awarded by Mayor Rob Moorhead. Photo by Kristin Shipps.

Blairstown Township committee member Debra Waldron said a final goodbye to her colleagues and constituents at the December 27 meeting, where she was given a service award for her dedication and tenure to the town.

After 30 years of sitting on local government boards—poring over contracts, examining public policy and fighting for the “little guy,” Waldron is ready for retirement.

At the township committee meeting, former Deputy Mayor Joanne Van Valkenburg was the first to express praises.

“You did your job, and the trust and respect from the public is your reward. We’re losing a great communicator, investigator and a true ‘Blair-storian,” Van Valkenburg stated during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Van Valkenburg spoke about what might be Waldron’s biggest achievement in office: the discovery of an additional underground oil tank at the Walnut Valley firehouse that was leaking and contaminating surrounding soil.

“I’ll never forget your tenacity,” Van Valkenburg remarked.

Dealing with a firm unable to meet deadlines and looking Department of Environmental Protection fines right in the face, Waldron worked with the township to hire GEO.works, a company that tracks and manages permits. GEO.works streamlined the remediation process, and a major crisis was adverted.

Moorhead echoed Van Valkenburg.

“This woman has done more to protect and look after the residents of this town, between drinking water contamination, we’ve seen land fill contamination… I’ve watched you react to each and every one of those situations.”

During her own comments, Waldron spoke on persisting water contamination issues.

“I would like to find a way to publicize contamination problems so that we’re all aware. People are very lackadaisical about getting their water tested. I don’t want to see that happen.”

Waldron spoke of her work with the police force, which she says was a dying entity when she took office. 

“The town had wanted to get rid of the police department and they were trying to bring in the state police. I worked very diligently to expand the police department and hours of operation, and I’m very proud of that.”

She also teamed up with Van Valkenburg to find funding for new Air-Paks for the Blairstown Fire Department, securing a $50,000 donation from Blair Academy. 

Committee member Karen Lance recognized Waldron’s service.

“It’s a lot of work and for your diligence and your time and your persistence, we thank you.”

“Thank you and best wishes in your future endeavors,” current Deputy Mayor Walt Orcutt added.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute of my time here, thank you,” said Waldron, before she made her final motion as a committee member, and called the meeting to a close. 

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Alex Tironi, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

A recent graduate of George Mason University in Virginia, Alex pursued a degree in journalism with a double minor in American Sign Language and nonprofit studies. She worked as assistant news editor to the Fourth Estate, the university newspaper where she reported on many things but mostly focused on campus crime and PD activity. While working for a nonprofit called the Borgen Project, she wrote about global health and poverty in third-world nations. Alex recently finished an internship writing and editing for a business consulting company in NY. Growing up in the area, she has always been active in her community and brings the same intention as a contributing writer for the Ridge View Echo.